Bill Would Empower Parents

Published January 12, 2011

In an editorial about proposed education bills that are supposedly off-target, one generally expects to encounter arguments why a particular piece of legislation falls short (“Most education bills fall short of targets,” editorial, Jan. 10). Instead of reasons, the Trib’s editors conjure bogeymen.

So a bill by Rep. Amy Edmonds, R-Cheyenne, to establish a “parent trigger” in Wyoming won’t solve certain “fundamental problems” because “giving that much power to one stakeholder — parents — is scary.” That’s the reason? The bill, modeled after similar legislation passed in California and being introduced in New Jersey, Indiana, West Virginia and several other states, would empower parents to change a failing school if half of them sign a petition. They would do so in the face of opposition from teachers unions, school officials, and district administrators — all very powerful stakeholders in their own right.

In fact, the parent trigger helps level the playing field. I hope in the future if the Star-Tribune’s editors weigh in on the bill, they approach the topic with sounder arguments and not merely emotion-driven alarmism.

Ben Boychuk, Chicago

Managing Editor, School Reform News